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Business News/ News / India/  MCA to create panel of mediators

New Delhi: The government is setting up a panel of mediators, which businesses and other stakeholders can approach for speedy resolution of disputes.

The ministry of corporate affairs has called for applications from former judges of the Supreme Court, high courts and tribunals and mediation experts who want to be on the panel.

The move indicates efforts to promote mediation for speedy dispute resolution as lengthy litigation is thought to dampen investor sentiment and impact efficiency in the economy. In mediation— a voluntary and confidential process — a neutral third party, the mediator, helps the parties negotiate a settlement.

An announcement from the ministry posted on its website said that the regional director, North West Region, Ahmedabad, will set up and maintain the panel.

Experts said such a panel will help businesses and stakeholders resolve disputes quickly and cheaply. The mediation panel would be made up of trained mediators who would work with the parties to help them reach an agreement that is mutually acceptable.

“By setting up mediation panels, the ministry is providing a way for businesses and stakeholders to access mediation services in a structured and consistent manner. This can help to promote the use of mediation as a tool for resolving disputes, which can in turn lead to greater efficiency, cost savings, and improved relationships between parties," said Sonam Chandwani, managing partner at law firm KS Legal & Associates.

Mediation can be particularly beneficial for businesses and stakeholders because it avoids the cost and time associated with traditional litigation, said Chandwani. In addition, it can help to preserve relationships between the parties, a factor which is often important in business contexts where ongoing collaboration is necessary, she said.

The announcement lends momentum to the regime for alternative dispute resolution in India, said Krithika Jaganathan, associate partner at law firm Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan Attorneys. “It augurs well for the entire eco-system as a time-efficient avenue for litigation-fatigued companies, as an avenue for experts to evolve bespoke strategies to disputes and as an opportunity for courts to reduce caseloads," said Jaganathan.

The government is keen to encourage mediation in a big way so that fewer cases reach courts and tribunals.

The Mediation Bill, 2021 pending in Parliament seeks to promote mediation, especially institutional mediation, for resolution of commercial and other disputes and to enforce mediated settlement agreements.

The Bill also proposes to create a body for registration of mediators and to make online mediation as an acceptable and cost effective process.

The Bill proposes creation of a Mediation Council of India. Once the Bill becomes law, mediation and conciliation will be conducted as per its provisions.

Gireesh Chandra Prasad
Gireesh has over 22 years of experience in business journalism covering diverse aspects of the economy, including finance, taxation, energy, aviation, corporate and bankruptcy laws, accounting and auditing.
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Updated: 08 Mar 2023, 12:44 AM IST
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